Posted by Seye Olumide | 20 September 2018 | 2,052 times
Fortune may smile on Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode as the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) steps up pressure on National Leader Bola Tinubu to back the incumbent’s re-election. The duo has been at loggerheads, with Tinubu supporting a former Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, ahead of the September 29 primary to select the party’s flag-bearer.
Sanwo-Olu reportedly has the nod of the powerful Mandate Group, which is loyal to Tinubu. But indications that the crisis might be resolved in favour of Ambode became apparent following a meeting attended by President Muhammadu Buhari and some APC governors on Tuesday.
This was at the mega rally for Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, APC’s aspirant in Saturday’s Osun State gubernatorial election. The party’s leadership was said to have pleaded with Tinubu to let go of his grievances and allow Ambode return for a second term. It was learnt that former governors of Osun and Ogun States, Chief Bisi Akande and Aremo Segun Osoba, started the peace overture, as they led Ambode to entreat the national leader.
Sources said Tinubu, out of respect for Akande and Osoba, promised to let pass his grouse. But with a condition: his political loyalists in Lagos, who have made up their minds that Ambode must go, must be consulted.
The two advocates then led the incumbent to Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola, who is perhaps the closest loyalist of Tinubu. On the advice of the former governors, Ambode was said to have prostrated pleadingly, while the Osun governor expressed his grudges and those of Lagos party members. He also explained why the members insisted they wanted Ambode out.
According to Guardian, one of the sins, Aregbesola noted, was Ambode’s alleged moves to destroy his (Aregbesola’s) political structure in Lagos West, especially in Alimosho. He said Ambode kept him waiting for several hours when he visited the Lagos government house. He further accused Ambode of vindictiveness towards party members that aided his emergence as governor in 2015. Aregbesola, however, reportedly promised Akande and Osoba that he would look into the matter.
At the meeting with Buhari and the APC governors, sources said Kebbi State Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu led the plea with Tinubu. “It is not in the culture of Hausa people to prostrate. What we normally do is express respect for our elders or leaders by saying, Ranka Dade. But today, I am going to break that protocol,” he reportedly said, and prostrated.
Unable to hold his emotions, the national leader burst into tears, at which point, Buhari stood up, moved closer to Tinubu, and implored him to give Ambode a second chance. Consequently, Tinubu called for a meeting of the Governors Advisory Council (GAC) to hold yesterday, the outcome of which would determine the incumbent’s fate.
Meanwhile, the Lagos chapter of Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP) has expressed readiness to offer Ambode a ticket, if he is sidelined by the APC. In a related development, the 2015 governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, yesterday declared his desire to contest next year’s election.
•Excerpted from The Guardian report
•National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu (left); APC Lagos Chairman, Tunde Balogun and Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, during the stakeholders’ meeting at the party’s secretariat in Lagos
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